From broken neck to Gr 3 winner and probable Hollywoodbets Durban July runner … Winchester Mansion (Candiese Lenferna Photography).
The Brett Crawford-trained Winchester Mansion won Saturday’s Gr 3 Hollywoodbets Cup Trial under Kabelo Matsunyane and this saw Drakenstein Stud equaling a record they had set last season and which they must now have a good chance of surpassing.
Winchester Mansion was the 18th individual Drakenstein Stud-bred stakes winner of the season.
Not bad for a horse who broke his neck as a youngster.
Shortly before the Yearling Sales he charged head first into a pole and broke a vertebrae in his neck
Kevin Sommerville, racing manager of Drakenstein, said he had been a model patient.
A cracked vertebrae cannot be plaster cast and relies on the patient to be as still as possible to give the cracked bone a chance to knit.
Winchester Mansion, a now four-year-old gelding by Trippi, was box rested for three-and-a-half months.
However, he was happy to just stay calm and look over his door every day.
He was also happy to eat out of a feed container put above his head, because lowering his head for extended periods would have been bad for the healing process.
Winchester Mansion recovered superbly and shows no ill effects of the injury.
He could not go to the Sales, as was intended, so Drakenstein raced him themselves.
He has rewarded Drakenstein for the excellent care they gave him.
Winchester Mansion now has a fine chance of being included in the Hollywoodbets Durban July final field.
He wore second-time cheekpieces in Saturday’s 1800m event and this helped him get handy before turning it on well in the straight to win by a convincing 3,10 lengths from local July entry Quasiforsure.
The latter’s chances of making the July were gone and so were the chances of fourth-placed Cape Eagle, fifth-placed Rockpool, sixth-placed Union Square, seventh-placed Litigation, ninth-placed Shoemaker and tenth-placed Flying Bull.
Drakenstein’s 18 individual stakes winners have won 30 stakes races this season between them, which is already five more than the 25 stakes races Drakenstein Stud-breds won last season.
It is a remarkable achievement by a stud who were only founded about 20 odd years ago.